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Last Updated on September 6, 2018

How to Become an Entrepreneur? 12 Tips from Successful Entrepreneurs

How to Become an Entrepreneur? 12 Tips from Successful Entrepreneurs

Being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t just happen to someone. People work hard, learn the ins-and-outs of their business, and apply the methods that work in order to become successful.

When you’re starting out as an entrepreneur, you want to make sure you know what makes successful entrepreneurs.

How to become an entrepreneur? What do successful entrepreneurs and business people like Bill Gates do to become so successful?

Here’re the secrets:

1. Never take “no” for an answer

Want to know why after so many let downs and disappointments, supper successful entrepreneurs still find their way to the top?

It’s because they never took “no” for an answer. This is the kind of spirit successful folks like Richard Branson have in them.

When you reach out for assistance from people, and they turn you down, do not take their response to your requests as a determinant factor to your success.

I once reached out to experts to interview them for a post I was writing and a particular expert told me my idea was already “beaten to death” and no one would be interested in it again.

I was let down by his response and thought to rethink my idea. But I did not.

I forged ahead with renewed strength and even reached out to more experts. After the post went live, I got so many positive responses from the community and the article was even mentioned on Forbes, and several other publications.

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Had I taken the response of that one responder who told me my idea was already beaten to death, I wouldn’t have had the success I had with the article.

As an entrepreneur, never take a “no” for an answer.

2. Work like you’re going to retire tomorrow

You know one thing about retirement? It makes us want to work harder to save more.

As an entrepreneur, you need to work like you’re going to retire tomorrow. In the spirit of every successful entrepreneur is the desire to work hard.

Successful entrepreneurs find fun and joy in hard work. So they never get tired. And when success finally comes, they’re just well-prepared for it.

3. Employ a mentor

One thing common with most successful entrepreneurs is they have mentors.

As an entrepreneur, you should have a successful role model whose experience will guide your career. This means you need someone who is successful and is willing to share their experiences with you.

If you find it difficult convincing your role model to mentor you, then work hard to impress them.

Besides, you could learn from someone by being an avid reader of their works. Most successful entrepreneurs are also prolific authors. Think Bill Gates or Richard Branson. They’ve all written books that teach their business principles and ideas.

4. Spy on your competitors every now and then

One good thing about entrepreneurship is that you have the freedom to also learn from your competitors. Chances are you have competitors that are way more successful than you are.

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What about the chances that they’ll be willing to teach you their trade? Very slim.

By spying on your most successful competitors, you can learn from their mistakes and apply their best practices to your business.

Buy their products, pose like a customer, and find out their weaknesses.

5. Copy the best challenger

Have you ever heard that copying others is a sin? Well, maybe in exam halls.

But get over it, this is not high school. In the business world, the best copycats tend to emerge the most successful.

Copy what works best from your best challenger and incorporate them into your business. This could include everything from their customer support approach or their marketing tactics.

6. Be humble and stay hungry

As an entrepreneur, you should learn to put your ego to check. You know what kills most businesses very fast? The big egos of their top executives.

Learn to espouse humility and always stay hungry as Steve Jobs always said. He was actually fired from the company he later came back to and saved!

By staying hungry, you’ll be willing to learn new things that could come in handy in the future. Not staying hungry breeds complacency and conceit in entrepreneurs.

The moment you become complacent, you allow others to overtake you and leave you behind.

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7. Do favors like it’s your talent

Learn to do favours without expecting anything in return. When you do favors for people, you get a sense of satisfaction in you that helps you stay motivated.

One thing I’ve also learned from successful entrepreneurs is the most successful never get tired of doing favors.

Neil Patel of QuickSprout has shared numerous stories of how helping people has moved his business forward. There’s even a research into why billionaires who give more of their wealth become even richer.

8. Move fast and improve quickly

In the entrepreneurial world, there’s nothing like taking it slow. Mark Zuckerberg even has a mantra for the importance of speed in business. He often says:

“Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”

When I wanted to get started into the internet marketing industry, Yasir Khan, the founder of QuantumSEOLabs, shared his story as a beginner with me:

“I started working with blogs like eZineArticles and then worked up the ladder…now own my company in Canada.”

Many who know EzineArticles today would not even take a second look at the site.

The bottom line is, don’t spend so much time on making decisions. Deliver first, and then improve constantly.

9. Move with a pack

The people you move with as an entrepreneur can also determine how soon you’re going to become successful. That is why it’s advisable to move with a pack of reliable people.

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10. Dream big

Don’t be afraid to dream big. Successful entrepreneurs achieve because of their big dreams.

The co-founders of Google once said their marketing officer once asked them who they wanted to market to and they responded by saying the whole world.

Well, if dreaming big hurts, Google wouldn’t be the gigantic corporation it is today.

11. Love yourself

Sound cliche? But it’s true. An entrepreneur should learn to love yourself.

Many people bother too much about pleasing others that they downright ignore their own feelings. In the entrepreneurial world, you need to give yourself all the love you can afford.

Most people won’t care about your feelings. Everybody is busy trying to win, so stop worrying about pleasing others and start loving yourself!

12. Employ smarter people

The people that work with you are going to play a huge role in the success of your business. Smart people build better businesses.

When the time is ripe for you to start hiring people, you need to seek out the smart ones. Seek for people that are smarter than you are.

To all entrepreneurs who want to become successful early in life, start dreaming big and give your time to others, but never forget to focus on yourself!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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